Tag Archives: discipline

LabourLeaks: will party leaders take disciplinary action while inquiry is ongoing?

The scope of an investigation into the leaked Labour report on a right-wing faction’s interference will not stop party members being suspended and investigated for improper behaviour, it seems.

So it is entirely possible for Keir Starmer and his team to suspend the memberships of all those who are named as responsible for misconduct in their roles as party officers, investigate what happened alongside the investigation into the report, and finally expel them if necessary.

The investigation’s full terms of reference have yet to be published but a LabourList report states that:

  • “The inquiry does not preclude disciplinary action by the party… the new leadership team was not trying to discourage such action from being taken by the party in line with normal processes, and in fact “they’re encouraged” to do so.”
  • The person who leaked the report will be protected as a whistleblower. A Momentum spokesperson said: “While the report should not have been leaked unredacted, Labour is Britain’s largest political party and the contents were clearly in the public interest. Labour’s half a million members deserved to know what was happening at the top of their party, and those involved in bringing these actions to light must not be penalised.”
  • Sources say the independent investigation will not focus on the leaking of the report in terms of identifying the leaker(s), though how and why the leak occurred will be considered.

Of course, both Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner have said they support introducing an independent complaints system.

For the benefit of Labour members: this means the party, as data controller, would pass your personal details to somebody completely unconnected with it, who you may not wish to have information about you, without consulting you about it and without asking your consent. This runs contrary to the Data Protection Act.

A majority vote in Conference will not be enough to give the party legal justification for such a move. It will have to gain the consent of every single party member – and if just one of you refuses to allow it, then the party will be acting illegally in doing it.

That’s the law.

This Site will continue to report on this matter as developments continue to take place.

Source: Labour’s ruling body agrees scope of investigation into leaked report – LabourList

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Starmer stumbles on anti-Semitism: will he kick out Corbyn & make Labour a haven for racists?

Bringing racism back to the Labour Party? Actress Frances Barber (here as the villainous Madame Kovarian in Doctor Who) has applied to rejoin the Labour Party. She has been accused of murderous prejudice against Muslims.

Keir Starmer’s hard line on anti-Semitism could make him the most unpopular leader in Labour Party history, haemorrhaging members from his first full day.

He has written a letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, following up on his pledge to “tear out this poison by its roots”, offering a meeting with groups representing the select group of British Jews who claim there is a problem:

He offers a video conference with the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Labour Movement. Note that Jewish Voice for Labour, Jewdas and the Jewish Socialists’ Group are excluded. Why?

The letter was seized by other organisations, such as the hysterical Campaign Against Antisemitism, which has put Mr Starmer in a very difficult position:

Starmer is now caught between a rock and a hard place – knowing that he put himself there.

Jeremy Corbyn – and the socialist vision of the Labour Party that he represented – attracted more than 300,000 people to join (or rejoin) that organisation.

If Starmer decides to launch disciplinary procedures against Corbyn – especially on the basis of the scanty evidence put forward by the CAA or any of the other witch-hunt groups – the party will haemorrhage members.

It will be reduced to the status of a minority interest fringe group with outlandish ideas about the way Jews are (and should be) treated.

But if he doesn’t, the BoD, the JLC, the CST, the JLM and the CAA will accuse him of anti-Semitism – just as they accused Corbyn – and the right-wing mass media will seize upon the claim.

And there’s a further question about the quality of Starmer’s leadership.

He fell into this obvious trap like a complete and utter muppet. How can anybody expect him to be any use as Leader of the Opposition?

We should not also that this development has been accompanied by a sudden inrush, back into Labour, of all the “anti-Semitism!” screamers who so publicly flounced out over the last five years of Corbyn’s leadership.

It is probably safe to suggest that they have done this in order to flounce out again if Starmer fails to do what he’s told.

So let’s put a little perspective on that.

One of these candidates for Labour membership is an actress called Frances Barber (pictured above). She spent much of yesterday (April 4) in a row with left-wing journalist Owen Jones over claims that she is frothing with racism against Muslims:

“Please stop killing us” as a response to Muslims denouncing the actions of killers and saying true members of their faith have nothing to do with such actions? Clearly prejudicial against Islam, and it could be argued that there’s a racial motive.

In fairness to Ms Barber (which is more than she ever gave me – she sided with Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman when they falsely accused me of libelling them) she has claimed that she did not send the offending tweet… by sending another offensive tweet, as you can see, above.

So Mr Jones provided some more evidence. I present this with no comment:

If you want to see some of Ms Barber’s comments on former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, here’s an article.

The response was, I suppose, predictable – considering the behaviour towards This Writer of her friends Riley and Oberman:

Mr Jones’s comments have been roundly condemned by supporters of Ms Barber – who seem to have made ad hominem attacks (against him personally) rather than addressing the issue he raised. Others have offered evidence in support, or simply expressed their horror at the thought that this person might be allowed back into the party:

https://twitter.com/JackGamble/status/1246547909002362886

As I say, I’m not going to offer an opinion on Ms Barber and her behaviour. I merely present the information and it is for you, dear reader, to decide whether the claims about her are true or false.

But if you decide they are true – and you’re a member of the Labour Party – you need to decide whether you want to share your party with somebody like that. Labour may be a “broad church” but I’m sure it has never offered open support for racism and the kind of people who offer violence to party leaders past or present.

And you need to decide whether you want to stay in an organisation whose leader allows that kind of person to join while perversely claiming it is a blow against racism.

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Cabinet discipline is poor because May cannot threaten to sack her ministers

Theresa May’s cabinet is the most ill-disciplined in British political history, according to chief whip Julian Smith. What does he expect?

So many Conservative MPs have resigned from her government – and so many are emphatically opposed to her current direction on Brexit – that she can no longer fill all the vacancies in government ministerial posts.

She cannot threaten her ministers with the sack, so they have no reason to kowtow to her; they can say and do whatever they like and she’ll have to bribe them if she wants them to support her.

Or she can threaten them with a claim that their misbehaviour is splitting the Conservative Party.

Current indications show that neither option is working.

The chief whip, Julian Smith, has said the cabinet is the “worst example” of cabinet ill-discipline in British political history.

Source: Smith: Cabinet is ‘worst example’ of discipline – BBC News


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Umunna’s lie gave Theresa May a way to attack Labour. He must resign – or be forced out

Chuka Umunna.

Chuka Umunna must have been giggling behind his hand when Theresa May came out with the following at Prime Minister’s Questions. But who will have the last laugh?

It is clear that Mrs May was using Mr Umunna’s entirely false claim that the Labour Party is “institutionally racist” to attack Labour – at a time when she had no other defence against Jeremy Corbyn’s criticisms of her policies (in this case, Universal Credit).

We all know he’s responsible – and he deserves to be punished.

But Mr Umunna probably thinks he’s free as a bird; as a Labour MP, he gets to say anything he likes and get away with it – it is only Labour members who are censured according to the party rules.

Well, that’s changing.

The whole point of Theresa May’s comment about Labour MPs facing ‘no confidence’ votes is that the party’s members can now censure their MPs (and clearly she thinks this is a bad idea. Conservative Party members should note that this means she favours the ‘top-down’ view of party organisation in which the leaders decide everything and the members show blind obedience at all times).

It is well past time the MP for Streatham was reminded that he represents the Labour Party, and is bound by Labour Party rules.

Rule 2.1.8 clearly states: “No member of the Party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the Party.”

I would say lying that the party is “institutionally racist” is prejudicial. I would say helping the Conservative prime minister to attack the Labour Party is grossly detrimental.

If you are a member of Streatham Constituency Labour Party, I would strongly urge you to call for a motion of “no confidence” in Mr Umunna, with a vote to take place at the earliest opportunity. I would suggest you call for the Labour whip to be removed from him and for him to be deselected, so that he may no longer stand as a Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party.

If you are a Labour Party member who is not in Streatham CLP, I would urge you to email [email protected] and call for Mr Umunna’s suspension pending a full and rigorous investigation of his conduct, past and present, with a view to his possible expulsion under the rule listed above.

Be polite, but remind party officers that behaviour of the kind shown by Mr Umunna has no place in the Labour Party – or in politics.

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Johnson left in the shade as satirist finally delivers a funny joke about burqas

Alternative burqa: This is almost certainly The Stig, although you can’t be too sure.

Boris Johnson take note: This is how you satirise attitudes to burqas:

(From the Rochdale Herald)

A new experimental initiative has seen numerous British Muslim women swap their traditional full face veils for an outfit made popular by Top Gear’s “The Stig.”

The aim of the trial is to make both Muslim women and xenophobic man-babies feel more safe and comfortable going about their lives in public.

So far the results have been positive. An anonymous test group of women in dangerous no-go-zone Luton reported dramatic changes to the way they were approached in the street.

“The same men who used to spit at me now ask me to sign their neck so they can get it tattooed. It feels like a minor change but the reaction couldn’t be more different. One man offered to by me a pint of lager and when I didn’t respond he just said ‘classic’ and left.”

Other suggested future experiments include dressing Jeremy Corbyn in a Gareth Southgate waistcoat and putting Tommy Robinson’s face on Halal goods.

For Mr Johnson, whose claim that Muslim women in burqas look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”, the future is looking a lot less cheery – and that goes for the Conservative Party, too.

The Tories appear to be imploding over the issue – which highlights genuine prejudice against a religious group, rather than the assumed prejudice in allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party.

A former aide of David Cameron, Lord Cooper, and Muslim leaders have joined the chorus of condemnation against the comments, made in a Telegraph article last week. Here’s the Observer‘s piece:

A Tory peer and former aide to David Cameron [Lord Cooper] accused Boris Johnson of “moral emptiness”, casual racism and “courting fascism” as division over the former foreign secretary’s comments about Muslim women threatened to develop into a full-blown crisis for Theresa May and her party.

After Johnson, who returned from holiday abroad on Saturday, refused to apologise, Cooper said: “The rottenness of Boris Johnson goes deeper even than his casual racism and his equally casual courting of fascism. He will advocate literally anything to play to the crowd of the moment. His career is a saga of moral emptiness and lies; pathetic, weak and needy; the opposite of strong.”

An abnormal spike in anti-Muslim abuse aimed at women wearing the hijab and niqab has been recorded by the government-backed hate crime monitoring group Tell Mama.

The majority of niqab-wearing victims who have called Tell Mama’s helpline since the article appeared said the perpetrator either used phrases such as “letterbox” or referred to Johnson.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), has weighed in to say support for Mr Johnson from Tory MPs and others “shone a light on the underbelly of Islamophobia” in the party.

There seems to be evidence supporting this. Mr Johnson is, it seems, unlikely to lose the whip or face official censure as a result of the internal investigation – though he may be asked to take diversity training – an offer he seems certain to resist.

Party leader Theresa May is facing the possibility that the row will do lasting damage to Conservative-Muslim relations – but this is unlikely to bother her too much because she is herself, as we all know, deeply racist.

More concerning for Gollum is the possibility that the row will enthuse Mr Johnson’s support base for a potential leadership contest.

That would really boost the Tories, wouldn’t it? Swapping one racist for another!

And it’s easy to see where Mr Johnson gets his views:

A close friend of Johnson told the Observer that he was “as likely to ride naked down Blackfriars cycle lane waving an EU flag” as he was to apologise. His father, Stanley, writing in the Sunday Telegraph… said that his son was “spot on” in his comments on the burqa, but should have gone further and called for a ban in certain circumstances.

One wonders what this gentleman would have said while he was appearing in I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, if he had ever been confronted by an aborigine.

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Tory Muslim peer receives ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ after calling for Boris Johnson to be kicked out – proving racism in the party?

Boris Johnson: All he wanted was publicity – and like gullible idiotrs, we gave it to him.

This Writer suggested – only two days ago – that Boris Johnson’s “joke” about burqa-wearing Muslim women was garnering support for him among racists.

It seems I was correct.

Of course we should not take anything a politician says at face value – Ruth Smeeth claimed to have received 25,000 anti-Semitic messages via social media, 20,000 of them in 12 hours. But research by Jewish organisation the Community Security Trust showed a peak of only 200 such messages, nationally, per day at the time of the alleged abuse, suggesting that she was… exaggerating.

And Mr Johnson?

He won’t care what Lord Sheikh says. Nor will he care about any disciplinary action by the Conservative Party.

He probably thinks, as other commentators do, that Theresa May will not want to upset supporters of Mr Johnson before crucial Brexit votes in the autumn.

So what has he achieved with his “joke”?

Publicity – for himself. And that is all he wanted.

Conservative Muslim forum founder, Lord Sheikh, has said he has received dozens of “vile” Islamophobic emails after calling for Boris Johnson to be removed from the Conservative Party after his remarks about niqabs.

The Tory peer said the ex-foreign secretary had also “let the genie out of the bottle” after he suggested veiled Muslim women resembled “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.

He told BBC Newsnight he had received the “vile“ emails, with “obscene language” since calling for the Conservatives to withdraw the whip from Mr Johnson.

His remarks came after the Conservative Party’s decision to consider disciplinary proceedings against Mr Johnson – a move that has led to criticism of Theresa May from Brexiteer MPs who claim the complaints are politically driven.

Source: Tory Muslim peer who called for Boris Johnson to be kicked out of party receives barrage of ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ | The Independent

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Rowan Atkinson defends Boris Johnson’s burqa ‘joke’ – but did he consider the intent behind it?

Rowan Atkinson: He’s entitled to his opinion.

The last time I can recall Rowan Atkinson raising his head above the parapet to give an opinion on political matters, I thought he was right.

Not so sure about this one, though.

Mr Atkinson has defended remarks made by Boris Johnson in a Torygraph article, in which he suggested that women wearing burqas look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

Mr Atkinson reckons it was a good joke.

I can only say, paraphrasing one of his own sketches: “Good? No. Joke? … No.”

Boris Johnson is a man with a history of racist behaviour that has been well-quoted here and in the mainstream media. He has ‘form’ when it comes to offending people of other cultures.

Therefore we may assume there was a malicious intent behind his words.

If they had appeared in a comedy sketch on TV, spoken by a character we were supposed to find amusing for his views, then it would be a different matter.

That said, Mr Johnson has shone the spotlight on a difficult issue.

Some people do find the burqa a questionable item of clothing.

Some are intimidated by it, and by those who wear it.

Many have pointed out that there is no way of verifying the identity of the person wearing it. Mrs Mike has even suggested it would be hard to be sure, even, of their gender.

She referred to the question of how their identity is checked at airports, saying that women wearing face-coverings are routinely excused from the kind of checks that other people have to undergo. I can confirm that this is not true.

UK Border Agency guidance makes it clear that: “It is a requirement that Border Force Officers always establish the nationality and identity of all passengers.  Officers are requested that passengers wearing veils or other face coverings ask to remove the covering in order that they may be identified as the rightful holder of their passport or travel document.”

(This sentence seems garbled. I think they mean officers are encouraged to ask passengers wearing veils or other face-coverings to remove them for the purposes of identification.)

“The UK Border Agency recognises that individual sensitivities must be taken into consideration, therefore if a passenger is uncomfortable removing their face covering in public they are escorted to a private room away from the border checkpoint and asked to uncover their face there.

“Female passengers, who are uncomfortable removing a face covering in public and/or in the presence of males, are checked in private by a female officer.”

The other issues are less easy to answer. It occurs to me that, as there is a perceived problem, perhaps Muslim women would be best-placed to tackle it, with an effort to allay the fears of those who question the use of this particular item of apparel, and the need for it.

This is an instance of culture shock – two cultures have collided and are finding it hard to reconcile themselves on certain levels.

The only meaningful way to do that is communication. If Boris Johnson’s remarks trigger an increase in fruitful discourse, then something good will have come from them.

But I don’t think for one moment that this is what that man intended and I look forward to the Conservative Party’s disciplinary proceedings against him.

Rowan Atkinson has defended Boris Johnson after his controversial comments about women wearing burkas.

The actor, known for his comedy performances in Mr Bean and Blackadder, said the remarks were funny.

Atkinson wrote in a letter to The Times: ‘As a lifelong beneficiary of the freedom to make jokes about religion, I do think that Boris Johnson’s joke about wearers of the burka resembling letterboxes is a pretty good one.’

He added: ‘All jokes about religion cause offence, so it’s pointless apologising for them.

‘You should really only apologise for a bad joke. On that basis, no apology is required.’

Source: Rowan Atkinson backs Boris Johnson because ‘you should only ever apologise for a bad joke’ | Metro News

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Will Johnson be disciplined over burqa remarks – or is he building support among racists?

The Conservative Party is covering itself in shame over this matter – and, it seems, so is the British public.

Not only are the Tories showing that their own code of conduct isn’t worth the time it took to write it, as it clearly shows that Boris Johnson’s burqa comments warrant disciplinary action but none is being taken…

But This Writer understands his unwise words have triggered a show of support among a certain section of the British public – presumably those responsible for the increase in Islamophobic attacks recorded in the last year.

Still, what can you expect from Tories – a small-minded, racist gang, supported by small-minded racists?

The Conservative party is coming under intense pressure to decide whether to take disciplinary action against Boris Johnson following his continued refusal to apologise for his controversial descriptions of fully veiled Muslim women.

A complaint about Johnson has been lodged with Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis, who is responsible for the party’s code of conduct which says that Tory MPs and other holders of public office should “foster respect and tolerance” in their work.

Lewis has to decide whether to launch disciplinary proceedings following a day of intense criticism of Johnson, largely from the liberal wing of the party, after he used a column in the Telegraph to compare fully veiled women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.

Monitoring group Tell Mama said last month that a record number of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of abuse were reported last year, with women disproportionately targeted.

Source: Tories under pressure over disciplinary action against Boris Johnson | Politics | The Guardian

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Is THIS how Margaret Hodge expresses regret?

Margaret Hodge: “Expressed regret”? Really?

I’m not convinced at all.

A Labour MP who “expressed regret” for launching a foul-mouthed tirade against her party leader in a public place would not, I think, immediately release a statement vilifying the organisation for following its procedures.

But that is what Margaret Hodge has done.

And she tried to pervert the issue, claiming that it was about anti-Semitism, when it was in fact about her display of behaviour falling well below the standards expected of a Labour Party member, let alone an MP.

For the record, she is also entirely wrong about the issue she wanted to promote.

The IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism is not as good as the descriptions in Labour’s code of conduct.

It allows those with malicious intent to accuse people of anti-Semitism if they dare to criticise the policies of the Israeli government, and this is not acceptable.

Even its author, Kenneth S Stern, has condemned it as an instrument that curbs freedom of speech.

So why is Ms Hodge so desperate to make malicious, fake accusations of anti-Semitism easier?

Perhaps we should take a look at the list of people making donations to her. It clarified a great deal when that happened to Tom Watson.

Labour has ended its disciplinary action against the MP Margaret Hodge, launched by the party after she called Jeremy Corbyn “an antisemite and a racist” over his handling of Labour’s dispute with Jewish community leaders.

Labour sources said Hodge, the MP for Barking, had “expressed regret” to the party’s chief whip, Nick Brown, “for the manner in which she raised her views”.

Hodge said in a statement: “I’m pleased that the Labour party has finally dropped their ‘action’ against me. After 55 years of LP membership, going after me instead of addressing the issue was wrong.

“In 2018, antisemitism has again reared its ugly head and the campaign against it goes on. The Labour party must adopt the IHRA definition in full to start to rebuild trust. Thanks to everyone for kind messages of support which have kept me going.”

Source: Labour ends action against Margaret Hodge in antisemitism row | Politics | The Guardian

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Vox Political applauds Sturgeon’s stance on ‘cybernats’

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

Nicola Sturgeon: Why is she pictured with David Cameron so often?

I was going to write a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.

It would have been in response to the sustained abuse this blog has received from supporters of the Scottish National Party who have now been labelled ‘cybernats’ – the abusive trolls who lurk around Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere, waiting for someone to write anything remotely critical of their party and then launching vicious verbal attacks on them – occasionally supported with threats of physical violence.

Here’s a mild example of one such outburst, with the profanities ‘starred’ out. Here’s a fun game to play at home – see if you can replace the stars with letters creating words that aren’t profanities! It might be harder than you think:

“Aye but you are a c***, and yes I do support SNP but that’s not why I said yur a c*** c***, I called you a c*** because you are sticking your English-Welsh whatever the f** yi are nose into Scotland’s business and trying to cause trouble by talking utter f***** s****, not only are you a c*** yur a f**** i****. I am sure you are a government backed troll trying to get reactions and start arguments in a sad attempt to discredit the SNP. The internet was full of gov backed c*** trolls like you in the lead up to the referendum. Now f** off f** face no one is listening tae yur p*** C***.”

It was meant to be threatening but was unintentionally hilarious due to the silly pidgin Scots these people try to adopt in their writing and the suggestion that This Writer – of all people – is working for the Conservative Government!

I got as far as writing the letter and printing it out, with this and other examples to support my call for her to take action, but it stayed on my printer tray for nearly a month because other matters took precedence: The government appealed against the ruling on my ‘DWP deaths’ FoI request; Mrs Mike’s mother came to visit; I co-organised a community/music festival… you know how one thing drives out another sometimes.

Then I read this in the Torygraph: “Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to tackle the so-called ‘cybernats’ over online abuse, saying SNP members who ‘cross the line’ will face disciplinary action.

“The Scottish First Minister made clear it is ‘not acceptable’ for people to use social media to ‘threaten violence, or hurl vile abuse, or seek to silence the voice of others through intimidation’.”

The article quotes her as follows: “I am making clear today that the SNP will take steps to warn those whose behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.

“We will tell them to raise their standards of debate, to stick to issues not personalities, and to ensure robust and passionate debate takes precedence over abuse and intemperate language.

“I am also making clear that where appropriate we will take disciplinary action. In the SNP we have a code of conduct and online guidance for our members.

“Where that code is broken, members should have no doubt that we will use our disciplinary processes.”

This is praiseworthy. For once, Vox Political fully supports Ms Sturgeon’s policy.

She could go further, though.

The example of abuse quoted above is from a person whose relationship to the SNP – beyond “yes I do support” – is not known. She has not promised action to curb non-members of her party.

Is it all right, then, for people who support the SNP but are not members to continue abusing the rest of us?

Perhaps I will send that letter after all.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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